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Questions That Need Answers: Here's What We Need To Know About Hurricane Harvey And The Relief Efforts

While Houstonians brave another impact of a torrential downpour, questions are beginning to loom on what can be done to cover all bases.

On August 26, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Houston, Texas, dispersing its Category 4 might upon the city's residents. Thousands of people have made it to shelters while others are still braving the flood, namely in Port Arthur, as they await assistance from fellow residents or government officials.

Since the storm's arrival, immediate action was taken to establish charities and donation services to get supplies to those in need. According to the Associated Press, nearly 50,000 homes have been damaged by flooding, and while Houstonians brave another impact of a torrential downpour, questions are beginning to loom on what can be done to cover all bases.

VIBE's staff compiled a list of questions that we, and likely the nation, are seeking the answers to, in order to help us prepare for our efforts to assist with recovery in Houston. If you're located near or have access to affected areas, please contact us at [email protected] to help direct our aid and donations.

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1) What will happen to those who do not have flood insurance? Will there be government leniency? (Especially after Donald Trump's executive order).
2) How can people submit insurance claims before the deadline of the new bill's implementation? And if they don't make it in time, how can they file without being affected due to not having their paperwork with them?
3) How can major cruise lines like Carnival, Norwegian, etc., help those who are displaced? Can they be docked nearby and used for shelter?
4) How can mental health facilities join in providing relief?
5) What plan will the government implement for future storms to provide immediate access to those who don't have the means to travel to safety?
6) Are there ways to send clean drinking water to the victims?
7) Which hotel chains in the surrounding areas are offering space to the flood victims? How are they helping with families that need to shower?
8) What happens to the sick in hospitals, who need consistent treatment, medicine, etc.?
9) Same for orphanages? Have there been ways to account for those children?
10) What role can public schools serve in a natural disaster?
11) With the school year starting, how will Hurricane Harvey affect students slated to begin pre-k or kindergarten? What about high school seniors? What about college graduates that are paying back student loans? Do they get a forbearance?
12) Are there translators designated at shelters to help assist those who don't speak English?
13) For those with no I.D. or banking cards, can prepaid cards be provided for them by banking institutions that can present their account information? Or a similar solution?
14) How will victims receive supplies that are flown/mailed to them by charities in other states?
15) Is there any way to shuttle/boat displaced people to shelters in other areas of Texas that have not been affected?
16) How are people with motor boats handling the dramatic increase in gas prices?
17) As these people become sick, because they will with close contact, freezing temperatures and contaminated food/water, what is the government and local/out of town medical teams doing to prepare?
18) Can those who lost their job in the wake of Harvey apply for unemployment?
19) What will Houston's economy look like a year from now due to Hurricane Harvey?
20) How will we fund efforts to rebuild Houston?
21) What is the likelihood climate change played a role in the hurricane's impact?
22) Are there plans to contain wildlife and protect civilians from dangerous animals? Are efforts being made to reunite pets with owners or find shelter for animals in need?
23) How have the elderly fared due to Hurricane Harvey? What supplies do they need? What about the supplies for the bed-ridden?
24) Are there other options outside of hospitals for the sick? Are any urgent care programs set up for those in need?
25) As we raise our own donations/goods, how can we get them to Houston without an organization?
26) How long will it take for the water to be drained in the affected areas? How long before families can even begin to go back home?

27) Can real estate firms offer model homes to residents?
28) Are apartments/homes/etc., postponing rent/mortgage fees?
29) Is there a database for missing or absent family members?
30) Food is running out. Panda Express shipped food, where is McDonald's, Starbucks, Chipotle, KFC, etc.?
31) How can we keep track and monitor medicine supply? What are the most common prescriptions?

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Florida Judge Clears Record Of Man Who Overslept And Missed Jury Duty

A Florida judge made headlines last week when he sentenced a man to 10 days in jail for oversleeping and missing jury duty. Now, CNN reports the judge has cleared the young man's record.

Judge John Kastrenakes found 21-year-old Deandre Somerville in contempt of court for not showing up to jury duty during a civil trial. Kastrenakes vacated the contempt of court charge and cleared Somerville's record.

The West Palm Beach resident was originally sentenced to 10 days, 150 hours of community service, a written apology of no less than 100 words and $233 in fines. Judge Kastrenakes' decision prompted swift outrage on social media as Sommerville does not have a criminal record.

The judge reportedly reduced the sentence Friday when Sommerville appeared before the court to read the letter. "Before my hearing, I walked into the courtroom a free man with no criminal record. I left a criminal in handcuffs. This was an immature decision that I made, and I paid the price for my freedom," Somerville said while reading his letter.

On Saturday the Judge said Somerville's letter was 'moving, sincere and heartfelt " and noted that he "has been totally rehabilitated."

Kastrenakes said he ordered probation because he wanted to send a message that jury duty is "is serious business deserving of attention, respect, and adherence to their oaths." However, he said Somerville is "a thoughtful and respectful young man."

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A Texas Man Robbed A Bank The Day Before His Wedding To Pay For The Ring

A Texas man has been charged with aggravated robbery for robbing a bank the day before his wedding to pay for the ring and venue.

According to reports, Heath Edward Bumpus approached a bank teller at Citizens State Bank on Saturday (Oct. 4) and said he had a weapon and demanded money, which he left with.

“He basically stated that he was getting married tomorrow so he didn’t have enough money for a wedding ring that he wanted to buy and he needed to pay for the wedding venue,” Sheriff Woody Wallace said.

After learning of the robbery, Wallace posted Bumpus' photo on Trinity County Sherriff’s Facebook page in hopes the public would assist with his capture. In an ironic turn of events, Bumpus' fiancee saw the photo, called him and convinced him to turn himself into authorities.

“His fiancée, who he was supposed to marry tomorrow, was able to get in touch with him on the phone when she saw our post on Facebook. She knew it was him. She contacted him and asked him if he robbed a bank. She convinced him that she knew it was him. His picture was all on Facebook. He needed to turn himself in,” said Wallace in a video posted to his Facebook page.

Wallace said most of the money was returned, along with the clothes he threw out the window of his car and the gun he hid during the robbery.

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NYPD Arrests 24-Year-Old Suspect In Quadruple Homeless Homicide

There appears to be no rhyme or reason behind the vicious attacks on five of New York City's homeless, which has left not only the community but other New Yorkers shaking their heads in dismay.

According to The New York Times, Rudy Rodriguez Santos was arrested and charged in the quadruple homicide, which took place at about 2 AM Saturday (Oct. 5) in the Chinatown section of the city. Authorities have not released the names of the victims but revealed one of them was an 83-years-old man. The fifth victim has been transported to a nearby hospital.

Advocates for the homeless say there's no way to know exactly how many men and women are living on the street, however, in a 2018 tally the number was 3,588, with 62,000 men and women living in shelters.

Blocks away from the scene, police found 24-year-old Santos holding a bloody metal bar. He was reportedly taken into custody without incident.

“The motive appears to be, right now, just random attacks,” Michael Baldassano, the chief of Manhattan South Detectives said. “No one was targeted by race, age, anything of that nature.”

Santos was captured on surveillance footage approaching the area where one of the attacks took place. Another attack was recorded on a security camera. When approached by investigators, Santos identified himself in the video but didn't confess to the crime. He later asked for an attorney.

Tang Wu, a manager of the Forever Health Pharmacy at 2 East Broadway, caught the attacks on his store's camera and was flabbergasted at the callousness of it all.

“They have nowhere to live and you beat them to death,” Wu said. “How terrible.”

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